What I found at ... is a series that tests and vets intriguing store-bought foodie finds. It’s the mainland and global parallel to KaSnack attack!, our series reviewing made-in-Hawaii snacks.
What: Bibigo beef bulgogi mandu
Where: Frozen section at Costco
Cost: $11.89 for a 3-pound bag
Q: Will these frozen mandu melt this Korean-American girl's heart?
Bibigo first entered the Costco market with their Fully-cooked Mini Wontons in Chicken and Cilantro, a nod to American sensibilities. It used chicken instead of the traditional pork and beef, and cilantro over chives, yet it was small and universally enjoyed. Being a Korean American foodie, I like Korean food. I like American food. I like food, period. When I turned my nearly full, extra-large Costco cart into the frozen section and saw these, I had to get them home and try them immediately.
The package has 3 pounds of extra large dumplings filled with Korean-style bulgogi flavor, at least that’s what they claim. I take issue with the term “extra large.” While they are large, I wouldn’t call them extra large since Koreans have all kinds of humongous mandu out there named after kings and stuff. These guys are probably the width of your palm. They are frozen but loosely placed in the bag.
I took 4 mandu, the suggested serving, and prepared them using the recommended heating instructions. For a total of 8 minutes, I pan-fried those mandu to crispy perfection.
These were so good. The wrapper was the right thickness to hold the dumpling in and prevent any leakage, but thin enough to have the appropriate dumpling wrapper-to-filling ratio.
While the dumpling wrap is crispy, the filling is so flavorful. Tastes just like bulgogi, but it’s ground beef, not sliced! There is also some binder that actually makes the texture even better than regular ground beef. The flavor is intense with shoyu, sugar, sesame oil, onion, maybe mirin, but a smoky grilled flavor too. No need for sauce! The sauce is the bulgogi sauce and it's already in the dumpling! So onolicious! It even has the vermicelli noodles that make it traditional mandu.
A: Yes, I'm all hearts here! I ate all 3 pounds of that mandu!
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